This recipe is one of my all-time favorites. I love scallops anyway but it's something about this dish that elevates the experience.
I can't take any credit for this masterpiece of a main course, it's all Mimi Thorisson. Mimi is a French cookbook author I had the opportunity and fortune to not only meet her but attend a 3-day cooking workshop hosted by her and her family at their home in the Médoc region of France. To say it was a dream come true would be an understatement. I urge you to check out her cookbooks, she really makes French cooking not so scary.
The scallops are savory, the orange segments are sweet and the capers are salty all while the cauliflower mash is the perfect conduit to bring it all together. As I write this my mouth is watering and I'm wishing I had stopped at the fish market and picked up a few scallops for tonight's dinner.
This is also a dish that leaves you very satisfied and full but not weighed down in the least. And if you've not prepared scallops before there's nothing to be frightened about, just remember to have a hot skillet with melted butter and only cook no more than 4 minutes total. Give it a go...even they get slightly overcooked the dish will still be de-lish!
Stuff you'll need:
1 navel orange
1 head cauliflower
6½ tablespoons unsalted butter
20 large sea scallops
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons drained capers
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
How to make this magnificent dish:
Grate the zest from the orange and set the zest aside. Slice off the top and bottom of the orange with a knife and then follow the curve of the fruit to remove the peel and white pith all around. Working over a bowl, slice between the membranes to remove the orange segments. Cut each segment into a few pieces and set aside in the bowl.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Break the cauliflower into florets. Add the florets to the boiling water and cook until the cauliflower is fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Try not to overcook it or the purée will be gelatinous instead of smooth. Drain and then purée in a blender or food processor with 3½ tablespoons of the butter. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Add the wine and continue to boil for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, the capers, and orange segments and any juice.
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil over high heat. When the butter starts to foam, swirl the pan constantly until the color turns light brown. Add the scallops and sear on each side until browned and barely cooked in the center, 3 to 4 minutes total.
Spoon the cauliflower purée into shallow bowls or plates and top with the scallops. Spoon the caper sauce on top and around the scallops. Sprinkle the orange zest and parsley over the top. Serve immediately.